Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our Visit to Blessed Sacrament's Sister Parish of San Marcos in Honduras

By Blessed Sacrament parishioner Marybel Enriquez

(left to right) Cesarina Berrigan, Father Luis Alonzo, Father Anthony Killian, and Edgar Enriquez
On Wednesday, September 14, Father Anthony Killian, Cesarina Berrigan, Edgar Enriquez and I, traveled to Honduras. The experience began when we were welcomed at the airport by Father Luis Alonzo and Senor Danilo. We had the opportunity to visit some communities that are part of the parish of San Marcos (Saint Mark), the churches and lay leaders who work with Father Lonchito, as he is fondly called by his parishioners.

The visit lasted eight days; a time of discovery during which we found out about the organization of a parish with 75 villages in 3 municipalities: Belen, La Iguala and Gracias. The parish is full of the Holy Spirit and courageous lay leaders that respond to the challenge of evangelization and to the constant “yes” to the call of their pastor, Fr. Lonchito. He is a shepherd who feeds his flock.

We visited almost a dozen church communities, including Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Puerta de Ocote Community; Good Shepherd Church, Matazano Community; Sacred Heart of Mary Church, Quelac Community; Santo Niño de Atocha Church, Sarzal Community; Good Shepherd Church, San Isidro Community; Holy Rosary Church, Belen Community; Church of La Merced; The Church of St. Martin; Santa Lucia Church; San Marco Church and Risen Christ Chapel of Juan Manuel Galvez Hospital. In most churches there is also a chapel for the Blessed Sacrament.

(left to right) Marybel Enriquez, Bishop Luis Santos, Father Anthony Killian
Among the activities in which we participated were the procession of Our Lady of La Merced (Mercy); selection of Godmother for the Virgin of La Merced; visit to the parish radio station, Radio Caleb, and lunch with the staff: Ivan Gomez, Freddy Perez, Gustavo, Blanca, Ana Luisa; and meeting with Bishop Luis Alfonso Santos of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán.

San Marcos has a Parish Council made up of representatives from the eight areas in which the parish is divided, as well as the coordinators of each of the three ministries, Prophetic, Liturgical and Social, as well as members of the Economic Council. There are 135 basic ecclesial communities in the parish of San Marcos, each community consists of 10 to 20 people who meet every week to pray, meditate on the Word and help each other. Father Lonchito is responsible for the spiritual growth of the leaders and members of the community.

On October 22 and 23, 855 candidates will receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Every ecclesial community is responsible for the formation in the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Marriage and Father Lonchito advises and organizes the celebration for each of the Sacraments.

We met and had dinner with Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, a total of 40, and we observed that the leaders working with the Father Lonchito have an agenda and use it to take notes of what is discussed at the meeting.  We also had dinner with those involved in the parish’s Prophetic Ministry who are catechists and kerygma leaders, were able to share their mission experiences in spreading the faith.

With the Social Ministry, we had the opportunity to attend two Masses at the Presidio (prison) along with the prisoners and be part of a group of members from different communities that assist with the lunch service (chicken, rice, salad, drinks and hot tortillas), which provides 600 meals to prisoners and guards. It was remarkable experience to visit a prison that houses 544 men, to see some of them participate in the celebration of Mass as members of the choir or altar servers, and together celebrate God's presence in a place where He can be worshiped and praised as well.

A young parishoner
The whole community welcomed us with a smile. We also shared time with some families including Juan and Maria Isabel Pineda, Mario and Rosita Cruz and the Franciscan Sisters Nancy and Brenda. They hosted us with all the comforts we could ask for: hot water, fans, hammocks and tasty coffee all day.

Surrounded by mountains and clouds we celebrated Mass every day and experienced the simplicity of our Honduran brothers and sisters involved in activities of faith, giving everything they can give, and responding to Christ's call to serve. We have great pride in being Catholics, and at the same time we realized that Blessed Sacrament is not indifferent to the needs of other parishes, specifically to our sister parish in Honduras. We were able to witness how resources are used to spread the Gospel through radio and different ministries which remind me of our early church which communicated the good news of God’s kingdom through spoken testimony.

On behalf of all our brothers and sisters of the parish of San Marcos in Honduras, we express our deepest gratitude for your generosity and prayers.

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